Tractor Supply grows sales in core merchandise

Brentwood, Tenn.-based Tractor Supply Co. posted sales and earnings gains in the fourth quarter and full year ended Dec. 29, riding the strength of its core categories, according to the company.

Fourth-quarter sales at the farm and ranch giant increased 3.7% to $1.29 billion, as comp-store sales increased 4.7%. Adjusted for an extra week in the prior year's fourth quarter, the company showed a 10.8% sales increase. 

Net income for the quarter ended Dec. 29 was $79.5 million, compared with net income of $70.5 million in the fourth quarter of the prior year.   

The same-store sales increase was driven primarily by continued strong results in key consumable, usable and edible (C.U.E.) products, principally animal- and pet-related merchandise. 

"Our core C.U.E. categories again posted solid increases above last year in both sales and units, and our ability to plan, prepare, execute and react quickly to the trends we are seeing in our business allowed us to deliver our 19th consecutive quarter of year-over-year transaction count increases," said Greg Sandfort, president and CEO. "Our team executed exceptionally well, delivering a strong same-store sales gain of 4.7% on top of last year's strong 7.6% comp increase, managing through less than ideal weather conditions for sales of cold weather products and despite less benefit from inflation than last year." 

The 1,176-store retailer opened 25 new stores in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with 31 new store openings in the prior year's fourth quarter. 

For the full year, net sales increased to $4.66 billion, or 10.2% over the prior year's 53-week period. Same-store sales increased 5.3%. Net income increased to $276.5 million, up 19.5%.  

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